Rabbi Kahane Blasts ‘Guilt-Ridden’ U.S. Jews

Times Staff Writer

Israeli Rabbi Meir Kahane, speaking at San Diego State University on Wednesday, attacked American Jews as “Hebrew-reading Gentiles” who have thrown away their Jewishness “for a split-level house in the suburbs.”

Speaking to an overflow student audience, the fiery Kahane charged that “guilt-ridden” American Jews who believe that Jews and Arabs can live peacefully together in Israel pose the greatest danger to that country’s security.

“The greatest danger to Israel is not the Arabs, but sick, guilt-ridden Jews. . . . Only a contemptuous liberal Jew believes that an Arab enjoys living in Israel,” Kahane said in response to protest chants from Jewish and Arab student groups who called for peace in Israel.

He advocates expelling all Arabs from Israel and frequently refers to them as dogs.


Kahane, a member of the Israeli Parliament and founder of the Jewish Defense League, began his hourlong speech with an aggressive attack on Arabs and Gentiles. But it was his sarcastic and often vitriolic attack on American Jews that surprised many in the audience.

“I was a little surprised that he would attack these individuals,” said Rabbi Jay Miller. “But I can see he is expressing views that appeal to some people. His speeches are an educational experience for many. However, I don’t think that education should be promoted by bringing racists to this campus who promote violence.”

Although Miller and most of those in the audience opposed Kahane’s views, he did have a small and vocal core of supporters in the college auditorium.

“Some people call him the Jewish Hitler. But he says things that many Jews in this country wish they could express. He expresses the feelings that many Jews have about Gentiles,” said a male student who did not want to give his name.


Security for Kahane’s appearance was extremely tight, and those entering the auditorium were searched with a hand-held metal detector. San Diego County sheriff’s deputies, San Diego police and SDSU campus police provided security.

Kahane charged that Jewish leaders in this country are not warning American Jews that what happened in Nazi Germany could happen here.

“For 2,000 years we have enjoyed the benefits of the Gentile world,” he said sarcastically. " . . . For 2,000 years the Gentile world loved us after every holocaust.”

Earlier in the day, a top Jewish leader in Los Angeles denounced Kahane as a “demagogue” and compared him to the Rev. Louis Farrakhan, a Black Muslim leader who preaches anti-Semitism.


“In Farrakhan’s case, the Satan is the Jew. In Kahane’s case, it’s the Arab,” said Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. “Of course, both of them consider themselves to be the Messiah, the savior, who brings order to primordial chaos. Kahane saves Israel, and Farrakhan saves America and its black community.”

Kahane, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but was stripped of U.S. citizenship earlier this month on grounds that he had served in the Israeli armed forces and is a member of parliament there, sparred frequently with his Arab detractors in the audience.

“You wanted Palestine? You can have it in Jordan. Call it Palestine. Call it Disneyland, but leave us alone,” Kahane said.

Then, in a reference to the many Arab students in the audience, Kahane said, “It is a deep pleasure to see so many Arabs in San Diego. I will do my very best to see that there will be more.”


Kahane told Jewish students that if Arabs are allowed to become a majority in Israel, it will mean the end of the Jewish state.

“If you want to know what they would do to us tomorrow . . . look what the Arabs do to each other in Beirut today, and you’ll know what they would do to us tomorrow,” he said. Kahane followed this comment with a sarcastic commentary about “good” Jewish women who have fewer children than Arab women because they are doing penance for the overpopulation in Pakistan.

Although Kahane has been condemned by virtually every mainstream Jewish leader and group in the United States, Taisir Hanna, a retired San Diego businessman, said that Kahane echoes the prevailing mood in Israel against the Arabs.

“The Jewish Establishment in this country oppose Kahane because they don’t want the American public to know what the Jewish Establishment in Israel is doing,” said Hanna, a U.S. citizen who was born in Palestine. “This guy has the guts to tell Americans what’s going on over there. Kahane is proposing genocide of the Palestinians. He promotes hate and venom drips from his mouth.”


Contributing to this report was Times staff writer Leonard Greenwood in Los Angeles.